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Asia Minute: Philippine President Leading Business Delegation to China

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The president of the Philippines is heading to China. Rodrigo Duterte has talked about shifting his country’s military relationship with the United States, but this trip also has a business side. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is heading for Beijing next week…and he’s bringing a sizable business delegation.  A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry confirms Duterte will have a “deep exchange of views” with China’s president and premier over a four-day visit starting next Tuesday.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated in recent years….mainly because of competing territorial claims in the South China Sea.  But since taking office in June, Duterte has taken a positive tone on dealing with China…and business leaders are anxious to profit from that improvement.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that originally, about two dozen entrepreneurs were scheduled to accompany Duterte to Beijing…but now about 400 business leaders have indicated they’d like to go.  Reuters reports about 250 executives will make the trip—representing a mix of small business and major corporations.

Many businesses in the Philippines already have extensive operations in China, from San Miguel brewing to makers of snack foods and property developers.  Funds are likely to flow the other way as well.  Just last week, the Finance Secretary of the Philippines told Bloomberg the Duterte administration plans to solicit Chinese investment for a number of infrastructure programs in the Philippines.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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